I’m back! Recipe 88: Hot cross buns

Hello everyone! It’s me and I’m back! I can officially say my dissertation has been handed in, with only one more assessment to go! My research has been put forward to be presented at the undergraduate research forum next month, so that’s scary! Here’s me looking ever so happy that I’d given it in! It’s so lovely and bound, mmmm!

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I do love Easter, mainly because of the smells of all the spiced buns and cakes wafting around, the chocolate eggs and of course, the bank holiday! And since it has just passed, I thought I would kick start my voyage back into blogging with a couple of lovely recipes to share from the Baking Bible.

I am a huge lover of hot cross buns, and I don’t think it has to be Easter to enjoy them. BREAK THE RULES! Have them whenever you like, but that satisfaction from toasting them and adding a spread of butter is second to none. When I was flicking through the book to find the recipe, I saw that these were your average buns, and I wanted something with a little more…special. After finding Paul Hollywood’s recipe, I added freshly chopped apple, orange zest, and then added something else….chocolate. I also ditched the traditional cross made of flour and water, and went for piped icing instead, for a bit more sweetness.20140413_221330

The process is a bit like making bread, and so for me, I didn’t follow Mary’s advice of adding all the fruit prior to its first prove, instead adding on the second. As I was fighting the dough to incorporate the dried and fresh fruit, and the zest, I remember thinking “WHY, THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE”, but sometimes you just have to persevere. Eventually, they were combined in perfect harmony. Lastly, I added the chocolate chips when shaping the buns, adding roughly 5 choc-chips to each bun, just because I didn’t want them to melt with the dried fruit.

The pictures below show a huge mass of dough, that is because I simply doubled the recipe to make 26. It seems like a lot of work for 12/13 buns, so why not make more?! Unlike shop-bought buns, these don’t last as long because they’re not pumped full of preservatives. I do think though, that these are much more delicious.

Ingredients (for 12):

  • 500 g strong white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 7 g fast-action yeast
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 50 g butter
  • 300 ml milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 75 g currants
  • 50 g chopped candied peel
  • 1 apple, chopped finely
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 50 g milk chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp apricot jam, sieved
  • Icing sugar + water (enough to make sure it’s thick and able to be piped)

Method:

  1. Lightly grease 2-3 baking trays. Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches hand temperature. Add the flour, salt, spices, yeast and sugar to a large bowl and make a well in the centre. When the butter mixture has cooled, pour it in, followed by the beaten egg, and mix well with a wooden spoon. When the mixture starts coming together as a sticky dough, use your hands.
  2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and give it a really good knead, for about 10 mins, until it is smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a clean and lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm (or an unused clear shower cap!) and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.20140413_190443
  3. With the dough in the bowl, add the dried fruit, peel, zest and apple. Knead it into the dough and make sure it is evenly distributed. Cover again and leave to rise for another hour, until doubled in size.20140413_200417
  4. Divide the dough into 12-15 even pieces (roughly 75-80 g per piece). Add the choc-chips and roll each piece into a smooth ball on the floured surface. Arrange them onto the baking trays, leaving enough room for the dough to expand. Mary suggests slashing the top in a cross, which I did but it’s up to your preference. Cover with more clingfilm (or a clean tea towel) and leave to rise for 1 hour more. After 30 minutes, preheat your oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas mark 5.20140413_202249
  5. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown, and the base when tapped is hollow. Make sure the dough is baked properly by looking at the base of the bun. We don’t want raw dough do we! When all the buns are baked, gently heat the sieved apricot jam. Brush all over the buns and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  6. Once cool, mix the icing sugar and water together until thick, place into a piping bag and pipe on the cross. Done!20140413_221522
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